Fire Table – Concrete Sealing

As I said in my last post, today's post is about sealing the concrete insert of our new fire table. And as I also mentioned last week, I made a mistake while sealing the concrete. But we’ll get to that. First, let’s talk about different concrete stains. There are basically four types of concrete sealers, as I found out while researching the best one for my project. The four types are penetrating, acrylic, polyurethane and epoxy. Each one of these performs the sealing in a different way. Acrylic, polyurethane and epoxy stains all build a protective film on the top of the concrete to provide protection, albeit using different chemical compounds. Penetrating sealers, typically some sort of silicon compound, provide protection by reacting chemically within the concrete. These don’t leave behind a protective film like the other stains. A key benefit of the penetrating sealers is their ability to let…

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Fire Table – Concrete Insert Part 2

If you’re keeping track around here, you know that the fire table I’m building requires a concrete insert. You’d also know that I’ve never worked with concrete before, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that my first attempt failed. Time to regroup, take some lessons learned, and try again. I think it is likely that the concrete expanded slightly as it dried, squeezing tightly into the first mold. The end result was a stuck concrete insert. The mold design relied on the concrete dropping out of the mold cleanly, which didn't happen. I realized I needed to redesign the mold so that I could disassemble it after the concrete dried. It helped that the old mold was completely destroyed in the first attempt.  With the goal of full disassembly after drying in mind, I picked up more melamine and started the new mold. The second mold design was basically…

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Fire Table – Concrete Insert

Almost every project I’ve completed in the past typically revolves around wood (with some exceptions). Wood is easily available, easy to cut, and easy to assemble. Unfortunately, it is also flammable. So when I made my fire table design, I added a concrete insert to act as a buffer between the flame and the wood. It is easy enough to included in a design, but now I had to try and build it. Welcome to the first episode of “Concrete Insert Building”! A widely used method of making a shape out of concrete is to use a mold for the shape. This is exactly what I did as well. To start, I had to take the dimensions of my concrete insert. SketchUp makes pulling dimensions easier. Easy enough. Next up was to build a mold that would create that shape. For the mold, I used a melamine board. Melamine boards…

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New Design – Fire Table

I am excited to bring to you my next big build for our house! Ever since moving into our home about 3 years ago (even before that honestly), I’ve wanted to have a fire table for our patio. The idea of sitting outside with friends around a table with a fire in it just seemed cool to me. Not to mention the great potential for s’mores! While we’re still not at the point of having a bunch of friends over, I figured it would be a good time to make my long desired fire table. Like all of my builds, I had to come up with a solid design first. And here is where we hit a bit of a snag. Typically, wood and fire don’t mix. As an educated adult human, I realize this. So I wanted to do some research and see if others had come up with…

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Kitchen Faucet Installation – Goodbye Bad Faucet!

Over the holiday break Allyson and I said goodbye to our home’s bad faucet in the kitchen. Trust me, it was really bad. There were leaks everywhere on the sprayer. Also, for some reason they made it as complicated as possible to operate. So we decided to complete a new kitchen faucet installation. Yes, the photo editing is back! I’ll admit, the old faucet did have a lot of features. In order to work the sprayer, you had to turn on the faucet, rotate the lever in the red circle and then squeeze the sprayer handle (blue rectangle). Super intuitive. Another great feature was the tiny streams of water that shot out of the black plastic around the sprayer anytime you used it. Really good for wiping the counter down. And of course, who can forget the post-modern kinked metal braided hose that went to the sprayer (green hexagon)? I’m…

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Compost Bins Build

I’ve written about the design of the new compost bins. I wrote a post last week about how I found the cheapest wood for the bins. It is time to post about the compost bins build process! Besides improving the aesthetics of the old builds, one of the main goals of the new compost bins build is to make them mouse proof. Supposedly, one can keep mice out of their compost if they always keep the compost moist. That’s probably true, especially since compost at the right moisture can get very hot as it is composting. But out here in Denver it is extremely difficult to keep the compost even close to moist 24/7 and mice certainly love that.  To try and make everything mouse proof, I designed the bins to have a sandwich type design. The bottom, top, and each wall is a rectangle of cedar with a layer…

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Cheap Wood For The Win!

Last week I introduced the design for new compost bins to replace our old ones. While I was excited to get much better compost bins, the old ones were free and the new ones are not. Sad. Not only was I going to buy wood for the new bins, I also had to get cedar, a more expensive wood than conventional pine. To help mitigate the costs, finding cheap wood was a must. And that is where the discount wood bin in any big box hardware store comes in handy! This wonderful bin is full of wood that is up to 70% off full price! The downside of course is that the wood is normally pretty terrible. Most pieces are warped, cracked, or discolored in some way. On top of that, it’s a limited selection of wood that the store has decided to mark down. Depending on what project you’re…

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New Compost Bins

In the past, I have written about wanting to be better at composting. In that post, the focus was on paying better attention to the compost itself and getting compost quicker. What was not addressed at the time was the compost bins themselves. They were pretty mediocre looking. Pretty gross. Also, just noticed the photo bomb from Allyson in the back. They were free, made completely from scraps out of our old shed, so that is a big plus. But it is pretty obvious that an upgrade was needed. Enter SketchUp for the new design. Once I had the initial design I didn't bother building out the other side in the model. Some key features of this updated design for the new compost bins: Built out of cedar for outdoor durabilityThe front folds down from a hinge on the bottom for easy compost turningCompletely mouse proof (fingers crossed) The last…

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Pets and Emergency Funds

Wellllp. Before talking about pets and emergency funds, I’ll briefly address the insurrection attempt that occurred on January 6th. This is exactly what I was saying we need to reject in my end of year post last week. On Wednesday we saw exactly where the past few years of lying and violent rhetoric were always going to lead. The people in Congress who have enabled this behavior are also culpable for the insurrection attempt and the resulting deaths. They refused to hold Trump accountable for his behavior for years, enabling and encouraging him to reject a fair and free election and each one of them should be held accountable. If you have a Congressperson representing you who doesn’t believe in democracy and voted to object to the election results, especially after a violent coup attempt, it’s time to vote them out. Alright, back to the regularly scheduled programming. I have…

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New Year 2021

Welcome to the new year 2021! It’s been a long week over here in our house, so I don’t have a long post prepared this week. And I’m sure we’ve all heard plenty about saying goodbye to 2020 and hello to a wonderful 2021. This past year has obviously been difficult for everyone in different ways, and I truly hope that this next year will be better for everyone. There are a couple of vaccines now available, and I, along with all of you, look forward to the day that those vaccines allow us to spend time with loved ones safely. Until then, let’s continue to look out for each other by wearing masks and limiting our risky activity. It feels like America is at an important point in our history. It feels silly to even have to say this, but we need to reject fascism and authoritarianism. We need…

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